Everyone has seen one of these two-sided pillow covers that present a mix of pantsu and oppai called “dakimakura” – the greatest jewel an otaku can own, yet also, the most misinterpreted in its offerings.
I wanted to write about a certain yandere dakimakura I recently acquired, yet this dakimakura is highly unusual amongst its class, and I realized to review it would give a highly misconstrued view of dakimakura for the many who don’t know what one is like to begin with. And besides, there already is for sure a definitely inaccurate assumption of what a dakimakura is like by those who don’t actually have one themselves, or perhaps were foolish or unfortunate enough to limit themselves to Chinese imitations or magazine extras.
Many people simply do not know what a “dakimakura” really is, even if they’ve read the definition on Wikipedia and think they’re experts.
A dakimakura is called by many names in English, with its translation twisting into either a “body pillow” or “hug pillow”, but despite being a pillow case, it’s not limited, nor necessary, to use it as such. Conveniently however, an authentic dakimakura from a licensed manufacturer almost strictly come at 160 CM in height, and only in rare cases, 150 CM, both of which hover around five feet. It’s a height not too tall, but neither too short, an ideal size that’s going to be slightly shorter than most otaku, perfect for a comfortable embrace.
But again, a dakimakura need not necessarily be hugged or slept with if not so desired – in fact, that’s actually a cringing thought, not because it’s creepy to sleep with a pillow of a fictional female, but who would want to wrinkle their expensive treasure by crushing it with their arms and defiling it with their sweat.
All but one of my dakimakura hang safely from my wall, and only because it’s a lesser magazine extra. This is of course a means of protecting them as they’re quite pricey, but also to fulfill another purpose. A real, authentic dakimakura is far more than the creep pillow they’re heavily misunderstood to be.
The epitome of fan admiration is a dakimakura, you can buy the Blu-ray, but you’re just buying a series you’ve already seen, with episodes readily available in many a location. Figures might exist, but what of them? They often just recreate existing illustrations in plastic, rarely to a satisfying degree, and even if they turn out high quality, it’s but a minuscule novelty in the end. A dakimakura is different from any other piece of merchandise.
Dakimakura always, without exception and even the worst of them, feature original artwork. Completely original character artwork, an expression of that anime girl you love in a fashion that you literally won’t find anywhere else – not in the series, not on a figure, not in any magazine art, nowhere. This is also one point behind their costliness, a typical top quality dakimakura going for around 12,000 JPY at pre-order price, and it’s well-worth it.
Below is an example out of my collection, my most beloved of them all, Yurippe:
She’s a gorgeous bishoujo, the very definition of the word, with physique of supermodel perfection – but the series never services her out, and neither have magazine artworks or other items and merchandise, and rightfully so. The sole article one will find Yurippe sharing her physical beauty is none other than this valuable dakimakura – making it one of a kind and extremely desirable.
This particular dakimakura was released by Chara-ani, a genuine manufacturer and distributor. That matters because with a genuine manufacturer, you get a product that lives up to the illustration it features. My Yurippe is crafted with flawless colors, hues precisely picked down to the pixel, with not the slightest percentage of miscoloration. The colors are also bold, and bewitchingly vivid – her hair is a lush, immense violet, skin tone ever so delicate as ever spec of shadow gradient is picked up, and even the surrounding background bedding feeling plush as well.
The dakimakura is made of two-way tricot, “two-way” meaning wrinkle-proof in two directions, enough to be effectively impervious to wrinkles. Most genuine dakimakura are made of two-way tricot, or slight variations of the material – the certain clocked-eyed yandere I’m hoping to review soon is made of an even more impressive four-way tricot, wrinkle proof in four whole directions, essentially wrinkle-proof. The exception to the tricot and two-way rule are the lesser magazine extra dakimakura, or obviously, the phonies, but we’ll get to those later.
Now, what is tricot exactly? It’s a very lush fabric, soft yet sleek. It’s a material commonly used also in bikinis and girl’s underwear as it’s resilient, yet sleek in texture, with a water resistance to it.
What you have in the end is a life-size embodiment of your admired 2-D lady exhibited in an intimate manner that few will likely ever see beside you, captured in the brilliance of 2-D style. The aesthetics are sustained, the illustration is alive with color, intricate and detailed in the line, shape, value, and other elements, on a fabric heavy, durable, and yet, delightfully smooth and silky. A dakimakura offers the opportunity to appreciate the girl in a way unlike any other – its a whole new experience to get to see her up-close, and examine every exquisite curve of her body.
I wouldn’t dare put this dakimakura around a pillow, because I want to sustain this impeccability for all eternity to adore. In the case of Yurippe, the fact one won’t find her sharing her physical beauty outside of this single dakimakura adds her majesty as a character and female alike – she sustains her classiness, yet still provides something to savor for those willing to spend. There are series out there that show everything, and then still offer an erotic dakimakura nonetheless, like Ebiten, but the series that save their service are making the most of it.
There’s another Yurippe dakimakura I have, which we’ll be comparing this one to show the sheer difference in quality. This was a benefit included with Dengeki G’s Festival magazine volume 17. The artwork is original, but it’s only one-sided – my topless Yurippe comes still with a top on the reverse end, but this below rifle equipped Yurippe is stripped and left in a sticky predicament for good, which she actually doesn’t seem to mind.
It’s certainly lovely and feels great, but this fabric is not two-way, you can see the wrinkles already in spite of this being fresh out the packing. It’s uncertain if this is even made from tricot, but more importantly, notice how the illustration itself is also nowhere near on par with the full-fledged dakimakura. This magazine extra has a simpler image, whilst the fully featured dakimakura clearly had an artist go all-out dedicated into illustrating a flawless pillow cover.
The colors also seem less precise, and everything is overall much less refined to such a degree, even if one were to own a magazine extra dakimakura like this, they very clearly would not get anywhere near the experience of a true dakimakura. If hoping to truly use a dakimakura as a pillow, one of these magazine extras make a great option as they’re cheap and more so expendable, but never will they compare with the real deal.
For there to be such a realm of difference between dakimakura, those who haven’t even one dakimakura surely have not the slightest idea on what they’re missing – and it goes without saying, sample images and photography are nowhere near telling of a product’s true qualities.
If one were sincerely in love with a certain anime girl, or guy even, they would do themselves no greater favor than purchasing the dakimakura and relishing a new side of the character they’ve never seen before.